Feeding and milk

Discussion in 'Goats' started by steff bugielski, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

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    OK. I need some real answers here. I do not feel like I am getting as much milk as I should from my goats. Many of the does are mixed breed, but 3 are purebred nubians with 9*milkers and 13* milkers for moms. I give them all grass hay, can not afford alfalfa and the boys are always with the girls. They have lots of pasture with grss and weeds and trees. The milking does get 6 cups of 16% pelleted feed, although not spesific to goats. It is a dairy feed.I can get wheat berriesa and wheat bran for free. Corn and oats are less expensive than grain. I can also feed "Blue Seal" feed which is about 50% more expensive than the local mill charges. My real question is , is any of the changes I can make going to make a differance in the quantity of milk. My friend brouhgt over his doe to be bred and she has tons of milk and he feeds her a mixture of corn , oats, and bread. Same hay and pasture. I have her daughter who gives me a fraction of milk.
    Will the cost of better feed bring in more milk. I do have the demand for it year round.
    Steff
     
  2. moosemaniac

    moosemaniac Well-Known Member

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    I use Blue Seal and I get what I consider a pretty darned good amount of milk. I have a first freshener giving 11 to 12 pounds per day.

    Ruth
     

  3. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    Have you considered alfalfa pellets? That can substantially increase milk output. Plus they'll look better, hold their weight better, be healthier, and it can be less expensive. Your grain costs will go down, so it may balance out. It depends on your area, but I think in most places, alfalfa pellets are cheaper to use then alfalfa hay (less waste).

    Our milkers get about 1.5-2 lbs. of grain on the feed stand, then alfalfa pellets the rest of the time. They probably eat about 3 lbs. of alfalfa pellets. They were really scarfing it down when we first introduced it to them, so I had a hard time seeing how we could ever give it to them free-choice. But they're not as enthusiastic about it now, so we will probably build a feeder and work our way up to keeping pellets out there all the time. It really is the best thing you can give dairy goats. Give them a little grain to keep some of their weight on while they're milking, but the alfalfa can be there primary feed. And for those not in milk, you can eliminate the grain eventually. It's better for bucks too, less chance of UC then when on grain.

    I can tell you ours are giving an extra 1 to 1.5 lbs. since going on alfalfa pellets.

     
  4. Julia

    Julia Well-Known Member

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    Yes, if your does have the genetic potential to produce a lot of milk (the doe you mentioned has a sire, too, after all, who could be negatively affecting production). But you cannot expect the does to milk well on sticks and water. The world doesn't work that way. They need high quality feed and lots of it to reach their genetic potential.

    A word to the wise---even if you rehash your feeding program tomorrow, you'll not see the full effect of it until next freshening.
     
  5. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    The problem with a 16% feed and grass hay is that all the calcium your doe has is coming from calcium carbonate/sulfate and if you have any underlying defficiencies in any other nutrients like copper, she can't absorb this. If milk is important to you it isn't a matter of affording. Yes purchasing 10$ 50 pound bales of alfalfa hay here is stupid. But as was stated above, being able to plumet the 16% protein down to a 12, or even use whole clean oats as your grain with alfalfa pellets. The $10 bales of alfalfa hay that is alot a waste with it compared to $6.45 for 50pounds of alfalfa pellets with no waste makes economical sense. For those who get alfalfa hay for $3 up north of course don't need this. Grass hay is fine for dry does, bucks who are only used sparingly, but does in the last 50 days of pregnancy, growing kids and milkers need calcium, the cheapest way to do this is with alfalfa.

    If you moved from the by products feed tag of your 16% protien sweet grain, to whole oats and alfalfa pellets the girls would not only milk more but look better. And like Julia said, it's no quick fix. You could instantly see more milk with adding alfalfa hay or pellets, but to get the most milk for the least cost won't be until the next lacation. And as always make all changes slowly, and once you are happy with your program stop tweaking it. Goats thrive on consistancy. Vicki
     
  6. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

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    OK it's been 5 days of slowly switching to Blue Seal Caprine challenger. I have also added alfalfa pellets. It might be wishful thinking but I think I see a small improvement. Many of them do like the alfalfa pellets, but they all like the feed. Today I will buy only that for the milkers and babies. I will continue the 16% for the boys and dry does for now, money being the factor. Thanks for the help.
    Steff
     
  7. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    Steff, what is a bag of this costing? What is in it that your goats need? Do your bucks and dry does need grain, no. Alfalfa pellets are 17% protein, they don't need the !6% of soy in the bag of Blue Seal. You could decrease all your grain costs in your dry doe and buck pens by not feeding this. Do you show your bucks, appraise? Than put them on grain late winter early spring to get some wieght back on them after rut. Because unless you use your bucks heavily, show or apprasie your bucks don't need any grain once they are 1 year old, and dry does after their first early lactation at 12 months need no grain unless they are 100 days pregnant. You save money on the farm but using your products wisely. Keeping the goats in excellent health with prevention, and keeping them in good shape is the fastest way to save money. Feeding grain to stock that doesn't need it is a waste of money.

    You bag of caprine food could be replaced by any dry grain/all grain milk of horse feed. What is it, corn oats barley, alfalfa meal, a mineral mix, and molassas your goats don't need. Take away the Molassas and the brand name and what do you have a cob with some alfalfa pellets or meal, some soy to make it a 16% which is too high with 17% alfalfa pellets. So use a 12% dry mix for horses, plus with horses you get superior mineral products in the feeds, or move to whole clean oats. I do feed black oil sunflower seeds because it adds the perfect fat to any grain mix. Where oil causes loose stools fed in enough amounts to work.

    The Blue Seal would be a find milkstand grain and a kid grow out grain, but so does the 12% dry and alfalfa pellets.

    I wish you would visit our site, when you see the proof of the difference in even these girls goats who have switched their ways, some after 10, 12 years of goating. The difference when you move from sweet feed and grass hay to real grains and alfalfa pellets or alfalfa hay is amazing!

    Imagine no more hay hauling, just a bale here and there for bad weather, imagine no more sticky sweet bags of mollassas that freeze into cement block, or cause diarrhea when the mills switch from liquid molassas to powdered. With a horse all grain that is a menued tag, you no longer are at the whim of what the mill puts in your mix each and every time something different when they mix it. Add the best loose mineral free choice you can find and you have all this licked.

    There are no guarantees in animals, but I will guarantee you if you would slowly move your program to this, you will come back on in several months, especially after kidding this spring and say WOW! Vicki
     
  8. Caren

    Caren Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am a newbie to dairy goats but this is what I do. I feed a COB and Black Oil Sunflower seeds. First All I had to give them was corn then I added oats only got 3 cups of milk per day (thay have all the 3rd cutting alfalfa hay they want) as soon as I added the Barley milk production doubled! I was amazed! Now I get a quart to a quart and a cup a day. I only have one doe in milk so I don't bother to weight it.

    Also if concerned about cost of feed why not scale back on some of the mixed breed and just keep the ones that have the good dairy lines. If you need the milk get some smaller goats. I am amazed at how much milk a Nigerian Dwarf Doe will produce! 3-4 quarts a day from an animal that is two feet tall!

    If someone this I should be doing something different please let me know...

    Vicki What is you web site? I would love to check it out.

    Caren
     
  9. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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  10. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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